"Cougarton Abbey" First occurred: "Biology 101" — Participants: Cinjin, Diedre Type of recurring theme: 'Metafiction: Fictional TV shows or movies referenced within Community.
“Just been round Cougarton Chapel. I may be having an awakening.”— Diedre
“Come off it, Diedre. You've only been having a butcher's at the choir boys.”— St. John
Cougarton Abbey was a 1990's British sitcom (within the Community universe) of which the American show "Cougar Town" was an adaptation. It featured a small circle of friends who live in an Abbey including St. John, Diedre, and two other characters. They enjoyed drinking tea and conversing about the various happenings at the Abbey. As with most British TV shows, it had a short intended run and lasted only six episodes. Its first appearance on the show was the Season Three episode "Biology 101".
Britta introduced Abed to this show after "Cougar Town"s premiere had been delayed to mid-season and caused him to go into a catatonic state. Although Cougarton Abbey appeased him for a little while, Abed quickly watched every episode but slipped back into a catatonic state after seeing the final episode. The main characters learn that the Barrister had foreclosed Cougarton Abbey. In response, they all decided to commit suicide by drinking hemlock. Ultimately, Britta managed to find a suitable replacement for Abed in the form of the long running British Science-Fiction show "Inspector Spacetime".
"Cougarton Abbey" is a reference to both Abed's favorite sitcom "Cougar Town" and the popular British drama "Downton Abbey". "Cougar Town" is an American sitcom that debuted in 2009 on ABC starring Courtney Cox. It is about a recently divorced forty-something year-old and her close circle of friends. In this interview, Community creator Dan Harmon described how a brief mention of "Cougar Town" on the show led to a "talent exchange" program later in Season Two. Danny Pudi appeared on "Cougar Town"'s Season finale a week after Dan Bryd and Busy Phillips appeared on Community's Season Two finale.
The finale of 'Cougarton Abbey' in which the cast all consumed hemlock may be a reference to the British Blackadder series, each of which ran for six episodes and several of which ended with the deaths of all or most main characters (noteably the first series ended when all the characters drank poison).